Sweet corn season is here. In many places really good sweet corn can be had, like farms markets, road side stands and even Wegmans! I don’t know about you but when I only am making one or two ears it seems silly to fire up a tall pot of water. I do steam the corn which only takes an inch or so of hot water but still…too much to do.
Three summers ago, on a hot day, I realized there was a quick and easy way to make an ear…or two without that big hot pan of water and steam. I just take a large frying pan, put a quarter inch of water in it, sprinkle of salt and let it heat until bubbling. I then lay in my ear or two which I have husked and removed all the silk. Then the pan is topped with a lid or an empty pizza pan if your frying pan is too big for your lids. Cook it the usual time; depends on how fresh the corn is. The fresher your corn ears, the less cooking time you need. The steam in the pan will cook it really fast. Maybe 6 to 8 minutes.
And the bonus is that if it runs out of water your ear will get a bit of carmelization going which only adds to the flavor. In fact I hope it gets browned a bit; sometimes I rotate the ear to brown it on another side. Remove with tongs when your corn reaches the done stage you like. Sometimes I take a quick bite to test for eating readiness!
Serve your ear(s) with salt and butter and enjoy fresh corn without heating the kitchen up much.
PS: when I camp I like to try new ways and old ways to cook stuff. We had corn that was fire baked in the ashes made by fruit wood; very tasty and we had corn I griddled/steamed on the camp stove. The camp stove corn had a foil tent to somewhat keep in moisture. But I have to say it still dried out more than I like, almost like freeze dried and reconstituted corn. The same thing seems to happen when I cook ears on my charcoal grill. The fire baked corn is created by getting the ears wet; soaked in a bucket of water and then buried in a small layer of hot ashes for about 20 minutes. You risk some char but that’s okay. The rest of the ear is just delightful. Maybe I will try foil this next camping trip; with a bit of water in there to help the ears steam. Will keep you posted on my results.
Revised from a post originally published in 2016.